To homeopath Christopher Scipio, maintaining health is as much an art as it is science. “Really, we know so little about how the human body works, how our minds work, and how our emotions work,” he says. “A lot of it is in the realm of the unseen, the unproven.”

Born in the Caribbean to a family of traditional healers, Scipio grew up immersed in herbal remedies. In 1990, he contracted herpes and resolved to develop natural treatments, few of which existed for the now-common STD. With his studies on bacteria, “the prime instigator in our own evolution,” and sympathy for the multitude of ways in which viruses can affect individuals, Scipio has opened the only holistic herpes clinic in western Canada, a weekly drop-in service at Finlandia in Vancouver.

People from across North America seek consultations with Scipio on how to manage herpes. He takes into account a person’s diet, lifestyle, and past experiences when considering treatment. Handmade remedies are prepared from local plants, such as Scipio’s signature Red Marine Algae Sex Gel, made from seaweeds gathered primarily in B.C. The goal is to maintain a strong immune system, he says, as susceptibility is what bacteria preys upon. “Because of pollution and a lack of nutrients in our diet, we are more at risk than ever before.